If you're looking for an interesting volunteer opportunity this Thanksgiving, give House For All Sinners and Saints a call. In an effort called Operation: Turkey Sandwich, the ministry, which became an official congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America this year, is making more than 1,000 bagged Thanksgiving-themed lunches for people who are stuck working this holiday.
"There are already a lot of churches and soup kitchens, and we realized that for a lot of people in our community and our city, thanksgiving is just another day," said Pastor Brian Rossbert, speaking to why they feed people who are working rather the homeless, as many churches and nonprofits do. "It seems that usually people are just grateful that somebody thought of them."
House For All began Operation: Turkey Sandwich six years ago, when a member of the congregation made a bunch of bagged lunches for people on Thanksgiving. To make a bigger impact, he shared the idea with House For All and the next year the congregation made more than 25 meals.
Last year, they made 1,250 (see this time-lapse video of last year's efforts!), but are looking to keep that number around 1,000 this year because 1,250 was a lot of lunches to distribute, said Rossbert. For those 1,000 lunches, more than 100 volunteers will cook 25 turkeys and bake 45-dozen pumpkin cookies and stuffing muffins.
The morning of Thanksgiving, volunteers will bring their turkeys -- sliced or whole to be sliced -- and pastries to St. Thomas Episcopal Church and start making sandwiches around 10 a.m. By noon, volunteers will have picked up all the bagged lunches and people working around Denver will be surprised with a free lunch. Rossbert says they'll give hospitals a heads-up that they are coming, but everyone else is unaware a free turkey lunch is headed their way. Volunteers will find police officers on the street and give them lunch, wait at a bus station and give one to the bus driver when they pull over, or pop into stores along Colfax Avenue and other busy streets.
"It's sort of an unexpected thing for the folks who are receiving it, which is part of why it's so much fun for us," says Rossbert. "Really it just comes down to spreading some cheer."
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Volunteer to cook, bake or pack lunches by contacting Rossbert at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just show up at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 2201 Dexter Street, Denver, on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.